School Turnaround Foundation

Our public school system can and must be turned around…

I took this photograph at a deep rural school in Limpopo early in 2015. It haunts me because it captures the sad state of 80% of our schools and the plight of 11 million of our youth. They are trapped and 21 years into the new South Africa not much has changed. They wait in the shadows for something to happen and I fear that they will wreak a terrible vengeance on all of us who allowed this to continue.

More than 90 % of our children in South Africa attend public schools and very few of these schools (approximately 20%) are considered to be “functional”. I often wonder whether it is possible to “save” our public school system given our realities on the ground, but have become more and more convinced that must do so and can do so, if we move beyond what we have always done. Our attempts to improve learner outcomes across our nation have largely failed because we have not developed a comprehensive and coherent methodology to turnaround our dysfunctional schools.

Over the past 7 years, Dr. Muavia Gallie has developed a turnaround methodology to effect systemic change to impact positively on learner outcomes in more than 24,000 schools. This methodology champions deep change in our education system through 5 educational principles. One of these principles challenges us to believe that, “all learners were created to be successful”. On the surface, every teacher and official will support this principle, but in reality more than 50% of our learners dropout before they reach Grade 12. This is seldom acknowledged when we celebrate the matric pass rate (75,8 % in 2014). Losing one child is a tragedy, losing more than 50% should galvanise our nation to do things very differently.

Doing things differently means that we need to commit to the following:

  • Acknowledge that education is in crisis and in so doing commit to a process of deep change in our districts and schools on the basis of sound educational principles.
  • Personalise teaching and learning to ensure that we realise the “dreams” of every learner. Our targets should be based on the aptitude and career path of individual learners. We have developed a “school intelligence tool” called SisOpen to do just that.
  • Ensure that every lesson is well planned, engaging, exciting and relevant to the needs of every learner. Our training with regards to curriculum management vs. subject management is groundbreaking.
  • Address all the needs of learners by focusing on their intellectual, moral, spiritual goals, cultural, aesthetic, social, physiological and vocational goals
  • Protect 170 days for teaching and learning per annum. According to the HSRC, the average for most schools in South Africa is 82 days and this results in a high drop-out rate and mediocre learner outcomes.

The work of our School Turnaround Foundation NPC can be summed as follows:

  • Five core educational principles could be the seen as the COMPASS that gives the methodology PURPOSE and DIRECTION,
  • Twenty integrated frameworks provide STRUCTURE in the complex environment of education and the numerous disjointed policies,
  • A unique school IT system, known as SISOPEN gives real time INTELLIGENCE with regards to the functionality of each school and the progress of each learner.

You can find more information on Dr Muavia Gallie, please visit his website:  Education Moving Up

Please email me if you would like to know more about us at:

Please more information about our methodology, please see our Facebook page titled : SCHOOL TURNAROUND FOUNDATION for regular updates of our work…

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